By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship Attorney

Guardians are required to post a bond in order to insure their faithful and honest performance as a guardian. If a guardian commits a wrongful act(s) (for example, embezzles money from his ward’s accounts), a guardian bond is there to make the ward whole for the guardian’s wrongful act.

A court will typically require a guardian to post a bond equal to the value of the liquid assets of the estate or the wards (i.e. equal to the sum total of all bank accounts, stocks, CD’s, etc.). Since a guardian cannot sell or mortgage the real estate of a person without the permission of the court, courts typically do not require a guardian to post a bond for the value of the real property.

But bonds cost money. They are insurance. With an insurance policy comes a premium. The larger the bond, the more the bond costs in insurance premiums. In the end, the ward pays for the bond, because the bond is there to insure the ward’s property.

There is one point that should be kept in mind. As the value of the ward’s estate declines, the value of the guardian’s bond should go down, thereby reducing the costs of the bond.

So, if you are a guardian subject to a bond and paying annual premiums don’t forget to apply to court to reduce the guardian’s bond to a reasonable number.

To discuss your NJ Guardianship matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.